Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Java and Justice


Last week, Starbucks came out in favor of marriage equality. In their letter of support, Karen Holmes, executive vice president, Starbucks, noted Starbucks’s “lengthy history leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion.”

This position is one hundred percent consistent with Starbucks’s visible commitment to diversity and inclusion---a policy that permeates every sphere of Starbucks. The people who work there, the people who consume coffee and food there, the people who sit for hours working, socializing, and sometimes just having a place to go.

Starbucks is the place to find solitude and companionship. Starbucks is where people go to write their books, find their mates, launch their new businesses, plan their divorces, celebrate their promotions and victories, and to cry with their friends.

When my marriage needs a little pick-me-up, we head to the movies and Starbucks….After all, we can do both in the 3 hours that comprises the amount of time that the baby will stay with a non-family member. There is magic at Starbucks. Low lights, nice seating, bits and pieces of Italian floating around, lending an aura of romance and adventure to the occasion.

Right now, I have friends for whom Starbucks is the staging area for major events, unfolding life changes, and burgeoning careers. One friend is writing a play. She is diligent, relentless, and remarkably talented. She is also caffeinated. On any given day, she is writing her 20 pages, blogging successfully, and generally being a good friend to me and her other friends.

Another friend is running a small business amidst an intense family challenge that is occurring in the background and greatly challenging her family’s emotional resources. She is prevailing, tending gently an determinedly to the needs of her family, and restoring herself and her sense of well-being over cups of coffee and a nice window seat.

Starbucks represents the site of many different, often intersecting, vibrant communities---and being part of a tight-knit community can lead to better health and a longer life. A 10-year study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22% less likely to die during the study period. Another study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2006, looked at what happened to 2,835 nurses with breast cancer based on their social networks. Compared with women with strong social networks, women who were socially isolated were 66% more likely to die (from any cause) and twice as likely to die from breast cancer.
On any given day, I know that I can walk into Starbucks and run into my friends, either alone, with each other, or with their kids. We can work. We can play. We can hang out with our kids….all over a cup of coffee.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble with Frank O'hara tonight. Specifically, his book of poems; "Meditations in an Emergency."

I can't tell if there's just nothing there to appreciate, or whether it's there and it's simply that I don't get it.

The poems are so rambling, so non-conventional, I feel like stopping half-way through each one. Was he on some drug? Was it that he was just bursting with these thoughts, that come out this way?

Half of me wants to resign myself to sit down and read this whole thing cover to cover, maybe with wine, to give it a chance of somehow coming into focus. The focus of meaning something to me, even if that is only that I can see the what was in the mind of the author.

On the other hand, maybe I should donate it to the library, some impressionable 17 year old who thinks everything means something might get it, somehow.

Anonymous said...

When I used to haunt Starbucks, I was there to study or read various things. It seems these days that more studying goes on at SBUX than in libraries. Maybe that was just the nature of my hood.

Imagine if libraries offered coffee? Hey, and who made the rule that there was to be no talking in the library? What a silly rule! People want to inter-act. Imagine what a hub of activity a library could be if you could only talk out loud. Does it really kill off the ability to read a book?

Maybe that is what Starbucks really is; a library with coffee talk. BYOBook.

Anonymous said...

A woman has a burglar break in and steal $100 and kill her. Everyone says; "what a horrible tragedy."

A woman has a burglar break in and steal $10,000 and kill her. Everyone says; "what was she doing with that kind of money around the house?"

Anonymous said...

Hunger Games movie tickets go on sale today! Woo Hoo! 23 million copies of the book have been sold. It rocks. It is going to be on IMAX for only 1 week.

The movie stars the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence (LOVE HER).

The Hunger Games may be the only book length book I've ever read in one day. Helter Skelter was like that, you just couldn't put it down. If you have not read H.S. and you need a good tear through 1000 pages book, that's the one. Even if you know the story well, it's still scary as hell.

Jennifer Lawrence (LOVE HER).

Got to go. All the Presidents Men is on TCM. William Goldman won an Oscar for the script. There's another good book; "Adventures in the Screen Trade" by W. Goldman. He won an Oscar for this movie as Best Adapted Screenplay and another Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for...Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There's a writer for ya. Also, Marathon Man was his book and screenplay, if you're scoring at home.